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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

NETHERLANDS MINISTRY OF DEFENSE

June 6, 2009

Freed AHTS was used as pirate mother ship

A Nigerian owned, Panama-flagged AHTS once identified as a pirate "mother ship" has been released.

The Yenegoa Ocean, held by Somali pirates for 10 months is now being escorted by the Royal Netherlands Navy ship De Seven Provinciën which is providing medical and other assistance to the 11 man all-Nigerian crew.

The release of the Yenegoa Ocean may provide answers to a number of questions.

On September 17, 2008 the ONI published this report:

GULF OF ADEN: Bulk carrier fired upon 23 Aug 08 at 1605 local time, while underway in position 14:11.3N, 050:20.3E, 68NM southeast of Al Mukalla, Yemen. The master of the vessel reported that it had been fired upon and there were shots on the bridge. The master requested immediate assistance from the coalition authorities. An aircraft arrived at the scene and the piracy tug boat (possibly the mother-ship) and the speedboats stopped firing. The ship is reportedly safe. Reported description confirms that the pirate vessel being used is the (YENAGOA OCEAN) (IMB, Operator, UKMTO).

Yenegoa Ocean is owned by ESL Integrated Services of Nigeria and was either en route to, or had just arrived at, Mogadishu, Somalia on August 4, 2008 when it was seized.

Built by Hall Russell in Aberdeen, the vessel was delivered to Tidewater, Inc. as the Spartan Tide, back in 1975. In 2000, it was purchased by Nico Middle East, which operated it as the Nico Shindagha. ESL Integrated Services bought it from Nico last year and the vessel was on its delivery voyage from Dubai to Somalia. The captain had requested permission to berth in Mogadishu as a crew member required medical attention.

The Yenegoa Ocean was also reported in January as being the site of a gun fight among the pirates were holding it. According to the report, four of the pirates died. The vessel had been moved from Hawo to Caluula in readiness to receive a ransom, but the negotiations apparently provoked squabbling that escalated into a shoot out.

De Seven Provinciën -- one of the six ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) engaged in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden -- received word at 21.00 Friday that the AHTS had been freed and at 5.30 local time Saturday put a boarding team on it.

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